A student who received $50k from Drake in his “God’s Plan” music video just graduated with her master’s degree, Blavity reports.
Destiny Paris James is a South Carolina native who grew up in a single-parent household and rose above her circumstances to beat the odds.
“I’ve always had this go-above-and-beyond attitude since elementary school. I started reading at 3. I would even fight with my older sister when she was 5 or 6 because she wouldn’t let me read her Chicken Noodle Soup books,” James said.
After graduating from high school, she got accepted into the University of Miami, pursuing a degree in public health. Things were looking up, but then she began experiencing financial troubles.
“When I had a certain bill coming up, I would literally obsess over when the pay period starts and ends. I would try to squeeze in as many hours and go to my WorkDay and write down all my hours and see how big my check was going to be,” James recalled.
After her father succumbed to a short battle with stage-four lung cancer, James almost gave up. But she persisted, focusing on her schooling and hoping to receive financial aid in addition to working around the clock to cover her bills. That’s when Darlene Rebello-Rao, assistant vice president of university advancement, asked James to share her story as a way to motivate alumni to donate in support of those in financial need.
When James arrived at Frost Music School to film the video, she was surprised by music icon Drake, who walked in and gave her a $50,000 check. The moment was captured in his “God’s Plan” video, which also showed him donating gifts to other people.
“He said, ‘I’ve read a lot about you. I’ve heard your story and all the things you’ve been through and all the hard work you’ve been putting in, so I want to give you $50,000 to pay for your tuition,” James shared.
She took to Instagram at the time to share the moment, saying, “I would’ve never imagined this happening to me. I’m just a girl from Denmar, SC that wants to MAKE IT and be somebody, and for you to see my hard work means the world. Thank you so much. God, I thank you. You are so great and amazing! Thank you for blessing me when I thought my hard work was going unnoticed. I’m living out my dreams. God’s Plan.”
James would graduate with a degree in public health in 2019 from the University of Miami, then pursuing her master’s degree in public health at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
“Everything I went through was so worth it. Thanks to Drake, I’m probably stressing about classes and work, but I’m not stressing about tuition,” James said in 2019.
This week, the 23-year-old shared that she is now also preparing to graduate with her master’s.
“Mama, I mastered it. Daddy, I did it. Four days until I’m officially [a] UNC Alum,” James wrote.
Drake then stepped in the comments to cheer her on, writing, “LETS GOOOOOOOO